FORMER Telegraph & Argus writer Jim Greenhalf and local author Michael Stewart will open Saltaire Festival with readings and a discussion of their work.

In The Difference Between Poetry and Everything Else, Jim will read from work written throughout his life, and Michael will launch a new expanded version of his poetry book, Couples.

Jim was a journalist on the T&A for 38 years. His poems have been published in literary magazines and anthologies and he has published several poetry books as well as Salt & Silver: A Story of Hope, the history of Salts Mill. More recently he edited My Mother Is Not Your Mother, the memoir of Margaret Hockney, sister of David. This year is the 20th anniversary of Jim’s poetry collection The Dog’s Not Laughing.


“Something I read in David Hockney’s new book, Hockney - Van Gogh: The Joy of Nature, reminded me of my long-held belief that good work transcends the time and place of its creation,” said Jim.

“For instance, in the late 1970s I brought out two pamphlets called Winter and Battles. Neither of them reveal that both volumes were typed in a flat in Oak Villas on the edge of a bed, the typewriter balanced on a trunk.

"Apart from a record-player that was all the furniture I had for a year or more until Peter Dobbie, a senior journalist at the T&A, took me to Raby’s auction house in St Mary’s Road and helped me bid for a dining table and chairs and a couple of easy chairs. The title of this show is The Difference Between Poetry and Everything Else - poems have their own voice and speak for themselves if they’re any good.”

Jim, who lives in Saltaire, feels that “now, at the age of 70, I’m just finding my feet.”

He has done numerous readings at Salts, and across the UK and Europe. “The major difference this year is the presence of Michael Stewart,” he said.

“He’s 22 years younger than me so there’s a physical difference, as well as the literary one. We have been friends, critics and occasional collaborators for going on 18 years; during which time he’s made a name for himself with BBC radio plays, three novels, a book of short stories and a volume of poems, Couples. He’s head of creative writing at Huddersfield University, the man responsible for the Bronte Stones at Thornton and Haworth, and a talented graphic artist.”

Michael’s debut novel, King Crow, won the Not the Booker prize in 2011. His most recent novel, Ill Will: The Untold Story of Heathcliff, is published by HarperCollins.

Jim Greenhalf and Michael Stewart are at 1853 Gallery, Salts Mill, on Friday, September 13. Tickets are on (01274) 531163 or email